Delores Bertoti

Professor of physical therapy, biology and healthcare sciences is also a respected author

Dr. Dolores Bertoti lives by her Franciscan values and is guided by them as she molds the futures of the students she interacts with at Alvernia University.

A physical therapist for nearly five decades and an educator at Alvernia for more than 30 years, Bertoti is highly respected by faculty and students for good reason. The Temple University graduate is the author of more than 20 publications and three books. Her third, Brunnstrom’s Clinical Kinesiology, is in its sixth edition. The gold standard for its field has been translated into six languages, the most recent being Taiwanese.

The professor of physical therapy, biology and healthcare sciences lives and breathes teaching. She makes countless national and international presentations in the areas of applied neurorehabilitation, motor control, pediatric clinical practice, electrotherapy, clinical research and university teaching and learning. She also serves as a board member with Easterseals Eastern Pennsylvania.

In her classroom, students practice what she preaches, so to speak. They do what they’re learning as they learn it.

“I love that I get to see the lights go on,” Bertoti said.

The experiential learning opportunities students get at Alvernia create a bridge between the concepts and practical learning, making the experiences meaningful ones.

"Having Dr. Bertoti as an advisor, professor, and lifelong friend has been of invaluable worth to me and my professional development," said Liam Kelly, who will graduate in 2022 with a bachelor's in healthcare science and in 2024 with a Doctor of Physical Therapy degree. "Her years of experience in the field of healthcare and at some of Alvernia's highest academic positions are shown in the way she is able to clearly and concisely answer virtually any question presented to her by a student.

"She acts as a beacon for the university's core values and creates a warm learning environment that makes learning fun and interesting for students. I am motivated to succeed in the classroom and clinic through her ability to motivate, coach and challenge me to be a better student, person and aspiring physical therapist every single day. Her guidance is the reason why I am able to continue my education at the doctoral level with such success, confidence and determination."

The university’s value system – its dedication to service, thoughtful contemplation, peacemaking and commitment to social justice – is what lured Bertoti to join the faculty. She said of graduates of Alvernia’s physical therapy program, “Their values should inform them how to practice and mold the way they interact with patients.”

To speak with Bertoti about her role as an educator is to hear the sound of pure joy. What does she love most about it?

“Everything," she said. "When I look at my students, I see the families that helped get them there. I see them. I see the patients they will help one day, and their families – people that will be touched by them. It’s humbling to think about the kind of difference you can help to make.”

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